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Theatre Review—‘Jersey Boys,’ Now At The Ahmanson, Still Has That Magic

From left, Cory Jeacoma, Matthew Dailey, Mark Ballas and Keith Hines in the national tour of "Jersey Boys." Photo by Jim Carmody.

Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 – 3:26 PM

By Chelsea Cutler

If you go for one thing, let it be for the electrifying eruption from the crowd after each number. That’s what you get from the Tony-winning Jersey Boys, now at the Music Center’s Ahmanson Theatre through July 24.

The show always makes for a good and uplifting night. I know this first hand, being the merchandise girl for Jersey Boys on Broadway. I would close up shop a few minutes after the show started to stand at the back of the theatre and swoon over Frankie Valli, played then by Jarrod Spector, and in awe of the performances. Wow. I felt like the luckiest girl in New York—and Jersey—and now California. I’d have to rush back before intermission and then repeat it again for the second act. It was pure magic. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about seeing it in L.A. with Mark Ballas of Dancing With The Stars fame playing Frankie. I knew he was a dance pro and an incredible mover who played the guitar and sang. But could he pull off the power and top-of-Mount-Everest-reaching notes?

Ballas, who happened to be the last Frankie on Broadway, did just that. Ballas and his gang got the audience going with their choreography, harmonies, and their wonderful characters. Matthew Dailey (Tommy Devito)-the wheeler dealer of the group who saw a special something in the young Frankie; Keith Hines (Nick Massi)- adorable, prissy, quite funny bass, and Cory Jeacoma (Bob Gaudio)- the sensible, innocent, writing genius, really are infectious.

During intermission, one woman moved to an open seat next to me stating, “I was sitting next to a singer….” But the entire audience begins to happily wiggle in its seats, verbally reacting to what’s happening on stage.

As for the show, Los Angeles is a more laid back town, not known for its bigger-than-life stage gestures, but for ones fit for the screen. This is how Jersey Boys came off at the downtown venue. It’s a production that’s satisfying and moves well—a real crowd pleaser, especially if you haven’t seen it. But you can never really go wrong with being in the audience for Jersey Boys. If you haven’t seen it yet, go and you’ll be transplanted to the New Jersey of the 1960s with the best tour guides in town. They’ll wine and dine you, serenade you, and make you feel like the luckiest girl or guy around.

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